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the Bible teaches any such doctrine it teaches something outside of the teachings of consciousness, and something to which those teachings, in the judgment of the vast majority of men, even the most enlightened, are directly opposed.
Realism Contrary to the Teachings of Scripture. 4. The Scriptures not only do not teach the doctrine in question, but they also teach what is inconsistent with it. We have already seen that it is a clearly revealed doctrine of the Bible, and part of the faith of the Church universal, that the soul continues to exist after death as a self-conscious, individual person. This fact is inconsistent with the theory in question. A given plant is a material organization, animated by the general principle of vegetable life. If the plant is destroyed the principle of vegetable life no longer exists as to that plant. It may exist in other plants; but that particular plant ceased to exist when the material organization was dissolved. Magnetism continues to exist as a force in nature, but any particular magnet ceases to be when it is melted, or volatilized. In like manner, if a man is the manifestation of a generic life, or of humanity as an essence common to all men, then when his body dies the man ceases to exist. Humanity continues to be, but the individual man no longer exists. This is a difficulty which some of the advocates of this theory endeavour to avoid by giving up what is essential to their own doctrine. Its genuine and consistent advocates admit it in its full force. The anti-Christian portion of them acknowledge that their doctrine is inconsistent with the personal immortality of man. The race, they say, is immortal, but individual men are not. The same conclusion is admitted by those who hold the analogous pantheistic, or naturalistic doctrines. If a man is only the modus existendi, a form in which a common substance or life reveals itself, it matters not whether that substance be humanity, nature, or God, when the form, the material organism, is destroyed, the man as a man ceases to exist. Those advocates of the doctrine who cling to Christianity, while they admit the difficulty, endeavour to get over it in different ways. Schleiermacher admits that all philosophy is against the doctrine of the personal existence of man in a future state. His whole system leads to the denial of it. But he says that the Christian must admit it on the authority of Christ. Olshausen, in his commentary on the New Testament, says, when explaining 1 Cor. xv. 19, 20, and verses 42–44, that the Bible knows nothing of the immortality of the soul. He pronounces it to be a heathen idea. A soul without a body loses its individuality. It ceases to be a person, and of course loses self-consciousness and all that is connected with it. As, however, the Scriptures teach that men are to exist hereafter, he says their bodies must also continue to exist, and the only existence of the soul during the interval between death and the resurrection, which he admits, is in connection (i. e., vital union) with the disintegrated particles of the body in the grave or scattered to the ends of the earth. This is a conclusion to which his doctrine legitimately leads, and which he is sufficiently candid to admit. Dr. Nevin, a disciple of Schleiermacher, has to grapple with the same difficulty. His book entitled “ The Mystical Presence,” is the clearest and ablest exposition of the theology of Schleiermacher which has appeared in our language, unless Morell's “ Philosophy of Religion " be its equal. He denies 1 all dualism between the soul and body. They are “one life.” The one cannot exist without the other. He admits that what the Bible teaches of the separate existence of the soul between death and the resurrection, is a difficulty “which it is not easy, at present, to solve." He does not attempt to solve it. He only says that the difficulty is “not to reconcile Scripture with a psychological theory, but to bring it into harmony with itself.” This is no solution. It is a virtual admission that he cannot reconcile the Bible with his psychological theory. The doctrine that man is a modus existendi of a generic humanity, or the manifestation of the general principle of humanity, in connection with a given corporeal organization, is inconsistent with the Scriptural doctrine of the separate existence of the soul, and therefore must be false.
Inconsistent with the Doctrine of the Trinity. 5. This theory is inconsistent with the Scriptural doctrine of the Trinity. It necessitates the conclusion that the Father, Son, and Spirit are no more one God than Peter, James, and John are one man. The persons of the Trinity are one God, because the Godhead is one essence; but if humanity be one essence numerically the same in all men, then all men are one man in the same sense that the Father, Son, and Spirit are one God. This is a reductio ad absurdum. It is clearly taught in Scripture and universally believed in the Church that the persons of the Trinity are one God in an infinitely higher sense than that in which all men are one man. The precise difference is, that the essence common to the persons of the Godhead is numerically the same ;
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whereas the essence common to all men is only specifically the same, i. e., of the same kind, although numerically different. The theory which leads to the opposite conclusion must therefore be false. It cannot be true that all mankind are one essence, substance, or organic life, existing or manifesting itself in a multitude of individual persons. This is a difficulty so obvious and so fatal that it could not fail to arrest the attention of realists in all ages and of every class. The great point of dispute in the Council of Nice between the Arians and orthodox was, whether the persons of the Trinity are opol- or ouoouo loi, of a like or of the same essence. If ouootolol, it was on both sides admitted that they are one God; because if the same in substance they are equal in power and glory. Now it is expressly asserted that all men are not ομοι- but ομοούσιοι, and therefore, by parity of reasoning, they must constitute one man in the same sense as there is one God, and all be equal in every attribute of their nature. Of course it is admitted that there is a legitimate sense of the word in which all men may be said to be ópooúolol, when by ómós (same) is meant similar, or of a like kind. In this sense the Greeks said that the bodies of men and of other animals were consubstantial, as all were made of flesh; and that angels, demons, and human souls, as spiritual beings, are also óvooúclou. But this is not the sense in which the word is used by realists, when speaking either of the persons of the Trinity or of men. In both cases the word same means numerical oneness ; men are of the same numerical essence in the same sense in which the Father and the Son and the Spirit are the same in substance. The difference, it is said, between the two cases does not relate to identity of essence, which is the same in both, but is found in this, that “ the whole nature or essence is in the divine person ; but the human person is only a part of the common human nature. Generation in the Godhead admits no abscission or division of substance; but generation in the instance of the creature implies separation or division of essence. A human person is an individualized portion of humanity.”? It must, however, be remembered that humanity is declared to be a spiritual substance. It is the same in nature with the soul, which is called an individualized portion of human nature, possessing consciousness, reason, and will. But, if spiritual, it is indivisible. Divisibility is one of the primary properties of matter. Whatever is divisible is material. If therefore humanity, as a generic substance, admits of “abscission and division,” it must be material. A part of reason, a piece of consciousness, or a fragment of will, are contradictory, or unintelligible forms of expression. If humanity is of the same essence as the soul, it no more admits of division than the soul. One part of a soul cannot be holy and another unholy; one part saved and the other lost. The objection to the theory under consideration, that it makes the relation between individual men identical with that between the persons of the Trinity, remains, therefore, in full force. It is not met by the answer just referred to, which answer supposes mind to be extended and divisible.
i See History of Christian Doctrine, by Dr. Shedd, vol. ii. p. 120. 2 Ibid. vol. i. p. 343, note.
Realism Inconsistent with what the Bible teaches of the Person and
Work of Christ. 6. It is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile the doctrine in question with what the Scriptures teach of the person and work of Christ. According to the Bible, the Son of God became man by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul. According to the realistic doctrine, he did not assume a reasonable soul, but generic humanity. What is this but the whole of humanity, of which, according to the advocates of this doctrine, individual men are the portions. Human nature as a generic life, humanity as a substance, and a whole substance, was taken into personal union with the Son of God. The Logos became incarnate in the race. This is certainly not the Scriptural doctrine. The Son of God became a man ; not all men. He assumed an individual rational soul, not the general principle of humanity. Besides this, it is the doctrine of those who adopt this theory that humanity sinned and fell in Adam. The rational, moral, voluntary substance called human nature, is, or at least was, an agent. The sin of Adam was the sin not of an individual, but of this generic substance, which by that sin became the subject both of guilt and of depravity. By reason of this sin of human nature, the theory is, that all individual men, in their successive generations, in whom this nature is revealed, or in whom, as they express it, it is individualized, came into the world in a state of guilt and pollution. We do not now refer to the numerous and serious difficulties connected with this theory as a method of accounting for original sin. We speak of it only in its relation to Christ's person. If human nature, as a generic life, a substance of which all men partake, became both guilty and polluted by the apostasy; and that generic humanity, as distinguished from a newly created and holy rational soul, was assumed by the Son of God, how can we avoid the conclusion that Christ was, in
his human nature, personally guilty and sinful ? This is a legitimate consequence of this theory. And this consequence being not only false but blasphemous, the theory itself must be false. As the principle that humanity is one substance, and all men are ouoouool in the sense of partaking of the same numerical essence, involves consequences destructive of the Scriptural doctrines of the Trinity and of the person of Christ, so it might easily be shown that it overthrows the common faith of the Protestant churches on the doctrines of justification, regeneration, the sacraments, and the Church. It is enough for our present purpose to remark that, as a historical fact, the consistent and thorough-going advocates of this doctrine do teach an entirely different method of salvation. Many men adopt a principle, and do not carry it out to its legitimate consequences. But others, more logical, or more reckless, do not hesitate to embrace all its results. In the works of Morell and of Dr. Nevin, above referred to, the theological student may find a fearless pressing of the genuine principle of realism, to the utter overthrow of the Protestant, and, it may be added, of the Christian faith.
7. Other objections to this theory may be more appropriately considered when we come to speak of the several doctrines to which it is applied. It is sufficient in the conclusion of the present discussion to say that what is said to be true of the genus homo, is assumed to be true of all genera and species in the animal and veg. etable worlds. The individual in all cases is assumed to be only the manifestation or modus existendi of the generic substance. Thus there is a bovine, an equine, and a feline substance, having an objective existence of which all oxen, all horses, and all animals of the cat-race, are the manifestations. And so of all species, whether of plants or animals. This is almost inconceivable. Compared to this theory, the assumption of a naturgeist, or anima mundi, or of one universal substance, is simplicity itself. That such a theory should be set forth and made the foundation, or rather the controlling principle of all Christian doctrines, is most unreasonable and dangerous. This realistic doctine, until recently, has been as much exploded as the eternal ideas of Plato or the forms of Aristotle.
§ 4. Another form of the Realistic Theory. There is, however, another phase of this doctrine, which it is necessary to mention. The doctrine that genera and species are real substances existing prior to individuals, and independent of them, is the old, genuine, and most intelligible forın of Realism.